We lead such ordered little lives most of the time. We cling to our routines and we see our lives as being good things. We live on our isolated islands, not knowing or realizing the misery that is occurring in homes and lives around us. We may even feel smug in what we are doing to make the world a better place, or what we are doing for the cause of Christ.
Then something like the massacre in Paris occurs. We are re-awakened to the magnitude of the evil in the world. We are forced to realize that the history we've read is not distant past - that the long-ago Crusades actually occurred to fight an onslaught that is just like the one that is beginning in the Western world now. (Beginning. There will be much more on down the road.) We see the carnage and the bodies, and realize just how bad, and just how horrifying, sin really is.
Then we put "Pray for Paris" on our Facebook posts, and our hashtags, and we talk about the horrible event for a few days. And then our minds and hearts settle down, back into our routines and good works and ordered lives, to continue living in the same oblivious thinking -- until the next massacre occurs.
And we forget that we are really just as sinful and horrible as those ISIS gunmen. That "all have sinned" truly includes us. Each of us could be one of them. Or Hitler or Mussolini. Or whatever awful rapist or murderer has been in the news this week. The world is a broken and dead place, and we are broken and dead sinners.
The only thing that has kept such murderous events away from most of us is the grace of God and the Holy Spirit, holding back sin in the world today. And the only thing that has prevented us from committing just as horrible crimes as were committed in Paris last night, is the grace of God in our lives. Events such as Paris show us just how stark the contrast really is, and what grace and mercy really are. May we open our eyes, and our hearts, and fall on our knees in gratitude to a holy and loving God.